Wires coming out of the wall

Signs it’s Time to Upgrade Your Outlets

There are very compelling reasons to call a professional electrician to upgrade your outlets. Consider: the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that emergency rooms treat approximately 3,900 people every year for injuries associated with electric outlets.

Fires are a significant threat. According to the commission, 40 people die and another 100 are injured by 5,300 fires associated with electrical outlets each year.

Older homes are especially prone to these kinds of issues because electric systems haven’t been upgraded to the newest safety codes. They frequently have deteriorated and damaged outlets that should be replaced.


Signs to Watch

Here are some signs to watch for upgrading your outlets, according to the commission:

  • The outlets should be cool to the touch. Unusually warm outlets indicate unsafe wiring conditions exist, such as a loose connection that could start a fire.
  • Faceplates should cover all the wiring. Exposed wiring is a shock hazard.
  • Electrical plugs fit snugly into the outlets. Loose-fitting plugs can cause overheating and fires.
  • You see sparks when you plug in an appliance into an outlet. It’s a sure sign you need to upgrade your outlets.

The commission publishes a helpful home electrical safety checklist you can download here. Consider using it as you go from one room to another to make your home safe.


Shock protection for kids

Small children who are not yet in kindergarten sometimes stick hairpins and keys into outlets. Children who insert metal objects into the outlet represent one-third of the electric-outlet injuries, according to the commission.

You can ask an electrician to install tamper-resistant electrical outlets like they do in schools and child-care centers. These outlets look like standard wall outlets but contain an internal shutter mechanism that prevents children from sticking objects into one of the holes.

Specifically, the tamper-resistant outlets have a spring-loaded shutter mechanism that only opens when an adult inserts an electrical plug with equal pressure, according to the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education.


Ungrounded outlets

If you have an older home, look to see if you have any electric outlets with just two prongs. If you do, it means you have ungrounded outlets that have a poor safety record.

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, grounded outlets are an important safety feature that have been required in new construction since 1962. Modern, grounded 120-volt outlets in the U.S. have a third small, round slot that provides an alternate path for straying electricity.

Unfortunately, the association says some homeowners try to circumvent the best solution, which is to bring the home’s electric system to modern standards. For example, some homeowners may try to replace a two-prong ungrounded outlet with a three-slot outlet without rewiring the electrical system.


Empowered Global can help you identify outlets that need to be upgraded. Call us at 239-970-8267 to schedule a service appointment to discuss your needs.

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